Fertility Acronyms Demystified and Explained!

Fertility Acronyms Demystified and Explained!

When you enter the world of trying to conceive (aka #TTC) it can be overwhelming; not only because you have to switch gears from contrecept-ing and/or start learning how your reproductive system works, but also because it feels you are hit by an onslaught of fertility acronyms and terminology that might feel very overwhelming.

In this post, I am going to breakdown some of the most common terms and acronyms we use in the fertility world and explain what they mean and why you they are important.

AFC – Antral Follicle Count: The count of eggs recruited and available for selection/ovulation/retrieval in a given cycle

AMA – Advanced Maternal Age: being over 35 when pregnant; age >35 is known to be a risk factor for obstetrical issues (high blood pressure, diabetes, placental/growth issues etc.)

AMH Anti-Mullerian Hormone: a hormone marker in blood work that reflects the quantity of eggs

ART – Assisted Reproductive Technology: refers to using IUI or IVF to help one conceive

BBT – Basal Body Temperature: a cycle tracking method which relies on the fact that progesterone (released post ovulation) leads to a slight rise in body temperature

BC – Birth Control: any method (behavioral/medical/surgical) that prevents pregnancy and/or controls the menstrual cycle by preventing ovulation

CD – Cycle Day: refers to where one is at in their menstrual cycle, with CD1 referencing the first day of a full flow period

DE – Donor Egg: someone else’s egg which can be used for IVF to overcome lack of eggs or egg quality issues

DPT – Days Post Transfer

DPO – Days Post Ovulation

E2 Estradiol: an ovarian hormone produced by a maturing follicle/egg

EDD – Estimated Date of Delivery: due date, calculated as when the pregnancy reaches 40 weeks gestation

ER – Egg Retrieval: extraction of eggs vaginally, under ultrasound guidance; the first step of IVF

FET – Frozen Embryo Transfer: the transfer of an embryo through the cervix, using a thin catheter, at the top of the uterus

FSH – Follicle Stimulating Hormone: a pituitary hormone that stimulates the ovaries to select and mature an egg and produce high estrogen

GC – Gestational Carrier: an individual who agrees to carry a pregnancy created from the egg of another individual (fertilized with a donor/partner’s sperm)

HCG Human Chorionic Gonadotropin: pregnancy hormone secreted by an implanting embryo

HPT – Home Pregnancy Test: urine pregnancy test which detects hcg in the urine

HSG Hysterosalpingogram: X-ray imaging of the pelvic after instilling contrast dye into the cervix; can be done by radiologist or REI; determines shape of inner uterine cavity and if fallopian tubes are blocked

TIC – Timed Intercourse: sex with the intention to be exposed to sperm during the fertile window 

ICSI Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection: Injection of a single sperm cell into the egg; to overcome male factor infertility and/or to fertilized hardened frozen-thawed eggs

IUI – Intrauterine Insemination: washing and concentration of sperm to be injected at the top of the uterus prior to ovulation

IVF – In Vitro Fertilization: fertilization of eggs and creation of embryos outside of the body and then subsequent embryo transfer

LH – Luteinizing Hormone: pituitary hormone signal that causes the ovulation of a mature egg 

LMP – Last Menstrual Period: defined as the date of prior cycle day 1; tracking LMP can allow for determining the window of ovulation.

OCP – Oral Contraceptive Pill: birth control pills that work by suppressing ovaries and preventing ovulation 

OHSS – Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: a condition that stems from ovarian stimulation where the stimulated ovaries release factors that make capillaries leaky and leads to fluid accumulation in the pelvic cavity.

OPK – Ovulation Predictor Kit: a urine testing kit that detects urinary LH surge to warn one that ovulation is ready to occur

P4 – Progesterone: an ovarian hormone produced after ovulation

PCOS Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a gynecologic condition that can make it hard for the ovaries to respond to FSH signals; irregular ovulation can lead to infertility; metabolic issues can lead to weight gain, hormonal acne.

PGT Preimplantation Genetic Testing: Testing of the outer cells of the embryo that one day become the placenta (the trophectoderm) to determine whether an embryo has the normal number of chromosomes, carries a genetic mutation etc.  

PIO Progesterone In Oil: progesterone supplementation via once a day intramuscular injections, most often injected in the upper outer quadrant of the buttocks; typically used as a way to provide progesterone support during frozen embryo transfer. 

PUPO – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise: the state of being in the two week wait before you can do a test and expect it to show up as positive, because it is ‘too early’. 

RE – Reproductive Endocrinologist: OBGYN who specializes in hormones and women’s health

RPL – Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Having 2 or more miscarriages; warrants a specific evaluation. 

SA – Semen Analysis: a test of sperm quality based on concentration, motility, morphology, and volume of the sample.

SIS – Saline Sonogram: an ultrasound based test to confirm it is possible to enter the uterine cavity with an embryo transfer catheter and ensuring the cavity is smooth and normal

TTC – Trying To Conceive: trying to get pregnant by timing one’s attempt with respect to ovulation. 

TWW – Two Week Wait: The period of time between ovulation/embryo transfer and the pregnancy test

US – Ultrasound: Imaging that can allow for monitoring endometrial cavity thickness and the activity in the ovaries; if done transvaginally it is easier to see the pelvic organs on an empty bladder; if done transabdominally the view is better on a full bladder.

Did I miss any? Let me know on my Instagram!

My name is Lucky Sekhon and I'm a double board-certified OBGYN, and Reproductive Endocrinologist & Infertility specialist practicing at RMA of New York. My mission is to empower women with practical and scientifically accurate information to make the right fertility decisions for themselves.

Follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my fertility related posts and content.